YNPNmaine’s Thoughts: Grad School

To grad school, or not to grad school -- that is the question:

Whether to invest time and funds into more school with the hope that it will result in improved job options and better pay or to avoid more debt altogether with the assumption that more schooling will not improve job options or pay. It’s a tough choice, a huge decision, and something we’ve found many of our peers are discussing. Everywhere you turn there’s another colleague leaving their job to begin grad school or an obnoxious article about how to have your educational cake and eat it, too. While you can occasionally locate a straight-forward article discussing the things to consider prior to attending graduate school, they often feel vague and subsequently irrelevant to an individual’s final decision.

With all of the noise one can listen to about grad school, it’s easy to get lost. To learn the real thoughts young nonprofit professionals in Maine have on the topic, YNPNmaine decided to ask you: Do you know if you will or will not go to grad school? How did you make your choice? If you’ve gone to grad school, how did you choose your program? Most importantly: did it help you progress your livelihood?


“In my mind, the choice to attend grad school comes down to career advancement and cost. I’d jump at the chance to enroll in a degree program if it clearly supported my career at a reasonable price. Luckily, I’ve been able to land a great position without feeling the need to go all-in on a master’s degree. For now, taking standalone classes and participating in conferences with others in my field has satisfied my desire to keep learning!”

      -Tim Von Stetton, YNPNmaine Events Committee Member


“I always knew I wanted to go back to grad school after working for a few years. I wanted to learn more. I wanted to be in Maine so I ultimately chose a school that was here, close to my family. When I was in undergrad, I was very involved on campus - this is different now. I have realized that I'm more involved in off-campus activities such as YNPNmaine and other nonprofits. Attending graduate school helped me get an internship which then grew into a job opportunity, so I definitely benefited from attending graduate school.”

      -Esther Pew, Co-Chair YNPNmaine Board of Directors (and a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree - congratulations, Esther!)


“I plan to go to grad school in the future. After browsing job applications for the past few months it appears that to employers, experience is worth more than higher education. Most employers expect applicants to have a Bachelor's degree but don’t necessarily desire someone with a graduate degree. For the cost, I would rather get more work experience under my belt before enrolling. Graduate school will improve my livelihood but I probably won’t find out until my early thirties.”

      -Brian Regina, YNPNmaine Member


“From start to finish, my grad school application journey took 3 years. I knew I wanted a program in a new environment that offered the most of what I was looking for inside and outside of the program. I created a spreadsheet where I aggregated program specifics, town details, and other personal preferences so I could see all the information in one place. I started with a broad search of all the top social work programs in the country and narrowed down to specific programs based on the results of my search. All of this research helped me focus my energies into applying for and enrolling in my top choice at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. I received a scholarship and will be pursuing a passion in sexual health. I just had my first week of classes, and I can confidently say that all that time and research paid off!”

      -Leila Hunter, YNPNmaine Member


“I don’t currently see myself returning to school. I don’t really know what I want to be when I grow up yet, so I am not eliminating it as an option all together, I just want to take time to professionally develop myself and see where the journey takes me!”

      -Annie Cavallaro, YNPNmaine Events Committee Member

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